Dealing Families a Winning Hand

How caregivers and a supportive community play a role in building resilience

mental health matters

Champions for Children and the Love IV Lawrence Foundation recently hosted a conference exploring the impact that trauma and family violence has on children, and the role caregivers and a supportive community play in building resilience. The conference was designed to help people understand the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) throughout a child’s lifetime. ACEs negatively impact a child’s physical and mental health, relationships, and academic success.

Champions’ very own Nikki Daniels, LCSW was a guest speaker at the conference. She spoke about the negative impacts of childhood trauma and how Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) can mediate the effects of ACEs.

“Many of us have been focusing on the importance of “attachment”, which sounds really clinical. If I asked each one of you what was most important in your life, I would bet that relationships are in the top one or two—the people in your life that you love and who love you. That’s really what attachment is—it’s love.” said Nikki Daniels, LCSW, Associate Director at Champions. “Healthy attachment between parent/caregiver and child helps that child learn how to love, and that carries through for the rest of their life. There is nothing more important!” said Daniels.

A study released by the CDC in August 2020 found that 40 percent of U.S. adults (2 in every 5) are struggling with at least one serious mental health issue during the pandemic. Mental Health issues were a concern before the pandemic. Before 2020, research shows that 1-in-5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness within a given year.

“Everyone is impacted by mental health challenges. The results in terms of lost productivity, relationships, and physical wellness are staggering. Research indicates that the sooner a person seeks help, the more likely they will experience a successful recovery. And, a person is more likely to seek that help if someone close to them suggests it. (National Council for Mental Wellbeing, 2019),” said Stoney Dvornik, Director of Love IV Lawrence. “It is important for all of us to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge and the local resources available so that we may assist those we know in our own spheres of influence,” said Dvornik.

Love IV Lawrence, a local non-profit whose mission is to change the conversation around mental health and suicide, sponsored the conference which took place at Stenson University. Love IV Lawrence began in 2018 in memory of Lawrence Huntley Dimmitt IV who died by suicide on August 24, 2017. The Dimmitt family quickly recognized the importance of bringing forward the circumstances of Lawrence’s death. By publicly sharing that Lawrence died by suicide his family started their journey towards de-stigmatizing and changing the conversation around mental illness.

Love IV Lawrence offers Mental Health First Aid training to those who work in nonprofit organizations, faith communities, and educational settings free of charge. The general public or businesses may access the training for a fee of $125 per person. Champions for Children offers this training to employees to help them identify, understand and respond to someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. In just three years since its founding, LIVL is now one of the best established mental health focused foundations in Central Florida.

“We partner with organizations that are already doing amazing work. We aim to provide funding and a platform for those organizations to amplify their message and have already granted to over 30 organizations.” – Ian Lieberman, a founding board member of LIVL

Champions values the partnership we have with LIVL. We have received two grants from LIVL and have a great partnership with them. We are excited to have an organization like them as a funding partner in our community. Funding from LIVL has allowed us to have 3 of our staff trained in the Protective Factors Framework and provide mental health first aid training to our staff. We will certainly continue to find new ways to work with them in the future.

At Champions we understand the impacts mental health issues can have on someone and how that can affect children. If you are in need of help call our Parent Warm Line at 813-673-4646 ext. 7 and our parenting experts will connect you with community resources to get you the support you need. To learn more about Love IV Lawrence, visit their website at